Illustration: Allison Corr

The love you get is equal to the love you give. It’s an apt aphorism for how I feel about chicken lollipops.

There are certain foods where the effort-to-output ratio isn’t appealing to the consumer. Crab legs, for example, are a total pain in the ass to eat; you put in all this work, the risk of punctured fingers prevalent, and all it yields are a few measly morsels of meat, delicious they may be.

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Chicken lollipops take longer to prepare than just tossing wings into the fryalator. It makes for a superlative end user-experience; the act of lollipopping chicken wings is laborious for the cook but produces a markedly better chicken wing.

Lollipopping chicken (really, I’m just talking about the drummette part of the wing) involves taking the meat and skin from one end and squishing it into a ball on the other end. What makes it a better chicken wing? Since all that meat and skin are concentrated into a fried mass, it feels texturally meatier; there’s seemingly more to chew on. And borrowing a technique from the Indian-Chinese restaurants where lollipop chicken was popularized, wrapping the handle end with aluminum foil makes the wing experience less messy. Add to it an aesthetic appeal, and you’ve just impossibly improved upon the fried chicken wing.

Some assembly, as I said, is required. There are three steps:

Photo: Kevin Pang

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  1. Using a sharp paring knife, cut through skin and meat along the bone on opposite sides, starting from the middle of the drummette down to the joint (leaving it attached on the meaty end).
  2. Scrape down the bone towards the meaty end of the drummette.
  3. Ball up the meat and skin into a tight sphere/rose.

If you were to make Indian-Chinese-style chicken lollipops, you might consider dipping this in a spicy wet batter, which will help hold the spherical shape during the deep fry:

As for me, I’m perfectly satisfied with dredging in seasoned flour, then frying as you would for Buffalo wings. I find what helps retaining its shape is dropping the drummettes ball-first, holding it in the oil for a few seconds to firm it up (you’ve got a convenient handle to hold), before dropping the whole piece in the fryer.

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Photo: Kevin Pang

Before serving, wrapping the handle with foil is a nice touch. Not necessary, but neither are frilly toothpicks, and they make any snack at least 15 percent classier. It does make the wing neater to consume, which if anything, saves you a few Wet-Naps and shows your friends that you care. I’ll swirl the meaty ball-end of the drummette into a mixture of hot sauce and butter, Buffalo wing-style, and serve immediately.

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